fleinniken 2013

Michelle Flenniken, Associate Professor

Ph.D. from Montana State University, 2006

B.S. Biology, Chemistry minor, University of Iowa, 1998

Office: 310 Plant BioScience Building
Lab: 337 Plant BioScience Building

Phone: 406-994-7229 (office)
406-994-5152 (lab)
Email Dr. Flenniken

Support Honey Bee Research

Learn more about Pollinator Health Research at MSU

Learn more about Honey Bee Research and the Pollinator Garden


Interested in joining the lab?

Please send an email to Michelle Flenniken (michelle.flenniken@montana.edu ), stating your research interests and experience. Please attached a CV describing your educational accomplishments, publication record, and contact information of your references.

Flenniken Lab Members



naomi kaku msu picture

Naomi Kaku

PhD student, Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology              

B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology, Central Washington University

My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of honey bee antiviral defense.


    337 Plant BioScience Building



Cayley Faurot-Daniels

Masters student, Ecology - Fall 2021with Dr. D. Debinski

Flenniken Lab Research Assistant 2015-2020





Flenniken Lab - Past Members and Current Positions


Fenali Parekh, PhD

PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, 2021

Dissertation Title: Honey Bee Antiviral Defense Mechanisms at the Invidual and Cellular Levels

B.S. and M.S. degree in Biotechnology from Pune University Work experience as a Patent Analyst for the Government of India

Current Postion: Microbion



Alex McMenamin

Alex McMenamin, PhD

PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, 2021

Dissertation Title: Honey Bee Antiviral Defense Mechanisms at the Invidual and Cellular Levels

Masters in Entomology, Penn State University, 2015

Current Postion: Postdoctoral Fellow, USDA  - Agricultural Reserach Service - Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology - Baton Rouge, Louisiana




Brian Ross, PhD

PhD in Plant Genetics, 2021

Dissertation Title: Undertstanding Resistance and Transcriptional Response to Potato Virus Y Infection in Potato Plants

Current Position: Associate Scientist 2, Illumina, Madison, WI




Laura Brutscher, PhD

PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, 2017

Dissertation Title: Insect Microbe Interactions: Honey Bee Antiviral Defense Mechanisms and Characterization of Spiroplasma colonizing wheat stem sawfly
Current Position:  Postdoctoral Scholar with Dr. Elina Lastro Nino, University of California Davis



Will Glenny, MS

MS in Ecology, 2017

Thesis Title: Evaluating the Effects of Climate Change and Pathogens on Pollinator Health using Plant Functional Traits and Longitudinal Monitoring
Current Position:  PhD student in Ecology with Dr. Laura Burkle, Montana State University


Boyd photo

Elisa Boyd, MS

MS in Plant Sciences, 2016

Thesis Title: Potato and Potato Virus Y: The Effect of Cultivar, Seed Type, and Defense-Inducing Agents on PVY Incidence 
Current Position:  Towne's Harvest Garden Production Manager, Montana State University

Marie Pizzorno, PhD

Associate Professor of Biology & Cell Biology/Biochemistry. Visiting Scientist at MSU: 2017-2018.

BA - Biology & Chemistry, Whittier College (1985)
PhD - Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1991)




Katie D

Katie Daughenbaugh, PhDResearch AssociateLab Manager

PhD, Veterinary Molecular Biology

BS, 2000, Montana State University, Biochemistry, Spanish Minor
PhD, 2005, Montana State University, Veterinary Molecular Biology (Dissertation: The Role of VPg in Translation of Calicivirus RNA)
I worked in the Flenniken lab at MSU from 2012 -2021, investigating honey bee - virus interactions at the molecular level, mentoring students, and carrying out importan lab management duties.



Hrithik Pahuja,Rotation Student  Spring 2022

B.S. in Biotechnology Punjab Agricultural University, LDH, IN. 

My family is involved in potato seed production and honey processing in India. I learned about Potato Virus Y Infection in Potato Plants during the Spring 2022 semester.